This work tells the story of the reforming Tsar who modernized Russia after her defeat in the Crimean War. Few spheres of Russian life were untouched by his reforms. In the face of bitter opposition, he liberated millions of serfs and secured their endowment with land. He reformed the Russian courts, created institutions of local self-government, and promoted railway construction and economic development. Both as a westernizer and as the father of its "Industrial Revolution", Alexander II ranks high among the makers of modern Russia. Yet he failed in his efforts to guide his subjects along the path of ordered political evolution. When carefully regulated freedom produced a dangerous ferment of opinion, he reverted to a policy of repression. In the end, the "Tsar Liberator" fell victim to the bomb of an assassin; the forces he had unwittingly helped to release prepared Russia for an age of revolution. This study has been updated with a new introduction.
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd